Weekly Bracketology – 02.02.09Posted by zhayes9 on February 1st, 2009
A few notes for this week’s edition:
– Louisville is a 1-seed because they’re the projected Big East champions. This could change in less than 24 hours should they fall to Connecticut at home, a very plausible scenario. Both Louisville and Marquette are undefeated in the conference, but I gave the edge to the Cardinals because I feel they’re the slightly better team. It’s my bracket and I’ll do what I want.
– As much as some will be screaming for Wake to garner the final #1 seed over Duke because of the win on Wednesday, the RPI advantage (Duke: 1, Wake: 13) and 1.5 game advantage in the ACC standings stand taller. Wake and North Carolina grab 2 seeds.
– One thing I anticipated that came to fruition when doing this bracket is the amount of muddled mediocre teams in the 4 seed to 7 seed range of the bracket. It seems as if just a couple outcomes could change vault a team like Kansas from a 4 to a 7/8 or California the other direction. Kansas and Villanova made huge progress this week in the seeding because so many teams in that very range faltered.
– The two conferences that seem to always shift projected winners from week to week are the SEC and Pac-10. It was difficult to deny South Carolina the SEC automatic bid and subsequent leap to a 7-seed after they beat Kentucky in Rupp (5 seed slide for the Wildcats this week). In the Pac-10, UCLA had an impressive couple of games while Arizona State collapsed, California slid and Washington lost to Arizona. The Bruins re-claim the Pac-10 auto bid and a 3-seed, jumping 3 seeds from a week ago.
– Penn State makes their first appearance in the field as a 10-seed. Their 71 RPI and 128 SOS stand out as lacking, but a 6-3 Big Ten record and win at Michigan State and home vs. climbing Purdue help greatly.
– The highest rated RPI team to miss the field? You probably guessed correctly with Georgetown at 17. Oklahoma State missed with a 27 RPI and the highest team to not even be remotely considered was UAB at 44. Disappointing season for Mike Davis.
– Michigan and Wisconsin finally fell out of the bracket. Both still have a chance to make a run, though. Michigan has the wins over Duke and UCLA to boast, while Wisconsin has the #37 RPI and #3 SOS. The Badgers have a crucial week ahead.
– Notre Dame has a long way to go to get back into the bracket. 12-8 (3-6) with a 77 RPI and just 2 wins over the RPI top 100 is a very porous resume at this point. They look like an NIT team.
– Tennessee desperately needed that win over Florida at home and pulled it out. A 19 RPI and 2 SOS with a victory over Marquette will help them. Improved guard play and defensive effort and they’re not out of the picture for the SEC championship.
– Just when you think Arizona is dead, they sweep the Washington schools at home and are lurking.
– Saint Mary’s still remained solidly in the field after their loss to Gonzaga, but fell out following the blowout loss to Portland on Saturday. They have the 179 SOS and zero wins vs.. the top 50. With Patrick Mills out for 4 weeks, they may miss the madness.
– As always, the results/predictions for winners of each game are just for fun.
Last Four In: Providence, San Diego State, Utah, Virginia Tech
Last Four Out: Georgetown, Saint Mary’s, Northwestern, Miami (FL)
Next Four Out: Oklahoma State, Michigan, BYU, Arizona
Automatic bids: Vermont, Xavier, Duke, Jacksonville, Oklahoma, Louisville, Weber State, VMI, Michigan State, Long Beach State, Northeastern, Memphis, Butler, Cornell, Siena, Buffalo, Morgan State, Northern Iowa, UNLV, Robert Morris, Morehead State, UCLA, Holy Cross, South Carolina, Davidson, Stephen F. Austin, Alabama State, North Dakota State, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Utah State.
Bids per conference: Big East (8), ACC (7), Big 12 (6), Big Ten (6), Pac-10 (5), SEC (5), Mountain West (3), Atlantic 10 (2).
Key Bubble Games (February 2nd-8th)
- Butler at Green Bay, 2/2– If Green Bay wants any chance to catch Butler in the Horizon and make it a possible 2-bid league, they must win this game.
- Kansas at Baylor, 2/2– Baylor is truly sliding (down to an 11 seed) and need a bounce back win over rising Kansas in the Big 12 very desperately.
- Purdue at Ohio State, 2/3– Another home loss and the young Buckeyes join fellow Big Ten mates Penn State, Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin on the bubble.
- South Carolina at Florida, 2/3– Not necessarily a true bubble game, but this contest will go a long way in deciding the ever-revolving SEC automatic bid in my bracket.
- San Diego State at UNLV, 2/3– Very important game in the Mountain West to decide 1st place.
- Boston College at Virginia, 2/4– The Eagles picked up a huge home win vs. Virginia Tech, but could fall right back out of the field with a loss in Charlottesville.
- Wake Forest at Miami, 2/4– The Hurricanes are falling apart at the seams. They should treat this meeting with Wake as their season.
- Utah at TCU, 2/4– TCU is a competitive team this year and Utah needs wins to stay in the field even with their glowing RPI and SOS. This isn’t an easy victory by any means.
- Tennessee at Arkansas, 2/4– Much like Utah, the Vols are boosted by an outstanding RPI/SOS. We’ve seen Arkansas take down very strong teams in their place already this season (see: Oklahoma and Texas).
- USC at UCLA, 2/4– A chance for the Trojans to repeat last year’s upset special and, out of nowhere, creep closer to the top spot in the Pac-10.
- Creighton at Drake, 2/4– The Jays are trying to make a late run and turn the MVC into a 2-bid league. They can’t afford to slip up against a falling Drake team.
- Penn State at Michigan, 2/5– Big Ten bubble city. This is nearing a must-win for Michigan’s chances, while Penn State looks to hold on to their seed.
- Illinois at Wisconsin, 2/5– The Badgers need a huge run to get back into contention. A home victory over the Illini would be the place to start.
- Gonzaga at Portland, 2/5– If the Pilots want any miracle run in the West Coast, they need to take this one at home against the front running Zags.
- Cincinnati at Georgetown, 2/7– Who had Cincinnati one game ahead of Georgetown on February 1? Regardless, both teams could use a win here to scrape their way back into contention.
- Notre Dame at UCLA, 2/7– The Irish have weak computer numbers, a poor record and lack quality wins. In other words, they have a very high hill to climb. A win at UCLA could turn it around.
- Texas at Nebraska, 2/7– Surprisingly, the Huskers are not THAT far away from bubble city. They welcome Texas into Lincoln and need the upset.
- Arizona at Oregon, 2/7– Knowing this Arizona team, I wouldn’t rule it out.
- Providence at West Virginia, 2/7– Providence was the last team in the field, so they can’t afford to lose this week. Morgantown is an especially tough place to win.
- Kansas State at Texas A&M, 2/7– A&M is still under .500 in the Big 12 and shouldn’t get too comfortable with their 10 seed. Kansas State needs a few more Dennis Clemente performances like this Saturday to claim a spot.
- Northwestern at Iowa, 2/7– Yes, it’s true. Northwestern is nearing a spot in the field. They could very well lose to Iowa and fall right back out of contention again, though.
- Xavier at Duquesne, 2/7– Not an easy road game for Xavier. Dayton will be watching.
- Minnesota at Ohio State, 2/7– Another important game for the Buckeyes.
- UNLV at New Mexico, 2/7– A difficult road contest for the conference-leading Rebels.
- Washington State at California, 2/7– A few more losses in a row for Cal and they morph from a 3 or 4 seed two weeks ago to a bonafide bubble team.
- Wisconsin at Penn State, 2/8– Two opportunities for the Badgers this week. A win over Illinois won’t be easy, a win in Happy Valley will be even harder.